April 2021 Newsletter - Third Judicial Circuit of Michigan

Wednesday, April 21, 2021 is Administrative Professionals' Day and the beginning of Administrative Professionals' Week.

In 1952 Harry F. Klemfuss of Young and Rubicam, an advertising agency, recognized the importance and value of the secretarial position in organizations. He created Professional Secretary Day as a way to acknowledge the value of their services and to encourage more women to become secretaries.

Fast-forward to 2021, the job classification "Secretary" is dated and obsolete in many organizations. It was an example of gender stereotyping in careers and has been replaced by the terms Administrative Assistant, Professional Assistant, or similar variations which represents the broader administrative responsibilities of the role. Also what was once a day has now evolved into a weeklong celebration.

Third Circuit Court recognizes the Administrative Assistants who serve throughout our court system. If you have ever attended a well-organized meeting, they were probably involved in the scheduling, the agenda preparation, readying of the room, and recorded the minutes or meeting notes. If you have ever needed a document signed and delivered, they were the invisible hands that ensured it went from one department to the next. Most likely, they prepared the memo, the requisition, and letter to court user or attorney. They are often anticipating what's needed and problem solving, playing a significant role ensuring our court delivers quality judicial services.

For all of their services, we are grateful and we dedicate this newsletter to them.

Happy Professional Administrative Assistant Week!
Sydney Adams
Norelhuda Alkanas
Steven Allen
Dawana Andrews
Jenna Astolfi
Laurie Bathurst
Cathleen Belcher
Lisa Bey
Loretta Borne
Lynette Brinson
Stephanie Bugdalski
Hope Cannady
Shawntrice Carter
Gail Churikian
Jalona Colvard
Chyonna Cooper
Darlynn Covington
Angelina Dallo
Shanti Davis
May Eskew
Nicole Fluellen
Donald Fuller-Wisner
Joanne Gaskin
Leslie George
Jeannette Heacox
Suzanne Jabbar
Lori Kaczmarek
Deborah Lee
Antoinette Maxwell
Mary McCrary
Roberta Mehundrew
Clarice Mehundrew
Patricia Mitchell
Maria Morris
Tina Moynahan
Sheila O'Brien
Georgette Passmore
Saleem Rizkallah
Carolyn Robbins
Christina Rocha-Staub
Kathleen Sanfilippo
Nicole Scott
Karen Smith
Lisa Stroud
Rabecca Sultana
Lynn Wade
Brenda Westbrook 
Marilyn Williams
Kimberly Wilson
Charmaine Ziegeler
Navid Ahmed 
Katrena Allie  
Alexis Allison  
Wenda Beard 
Clyde Bradley 
Albert Breeden      
Ann Brown
Dinmasir Bryant   
Takeisha Cain 
Chaneka Cain
Tracy Calhoun
Nicole Carter
Rosemary Christian
Derocha Clemmons
Karla Copeland
Lauren Crawford
Betty Davis
Daydrea Dennard  
Pamela Dew
Angelica Dortch-McKay     
Andrea Dunnett
Azaria Finley
Lashonne Finley 
Karen Gaines
Damon Gaskin
Deidra Gilbert
Cynthia Gray
Hope Hale 
Keila Harvey
Shelly Hays
Marnita Houston   
Yolanda Houston   
Gloria Howard
Constance Johnson  
Kimberly Johnson
Lauretta Keleman  
Cara Lee
Joi Lee-MacNear
Vicki Leonard
Kimberly Lepoudre
Lobenon Liggans
Tonya Little
Latonya Lowery
Chloe Lucas
Theresa Mack
Colleen Martin
Valerie McCowan
Lora McDuffie
Georgette McFolley
Shaun McParland
Connie Molinaro
Alfreda Moore
Crystal Palmer
Angel Patterson
India Perry
Shawn Perry
Saundra Poe-Wheeler
Sonya Powers
Tylynn Puller
Sandra Rice
Ursula Richardson
Doris Richardson
Denise Ritchie
Aarika Rodgers
Latrice Ross
Denita Schroeder
Jennifer Shelton
Margaret Shephard
Krystle Shepheard
Caitlin Shirey
Aktharul Shopon
Edith Shrivers
Kizzie Stevenson
Rosalind Stokely
Maceo Talley
Karla Taylor
Cierra Terry
Lynn Thomas
Cheryl Thomas
Deborah Wadley
Maria Walker
Nicole Walters
Tamara Walters
Catherine Warshay
Edna Washington
Teresa Welch
Edward White
Lisa White
Eunela Williams
Jail Reform Advisory Council
The Jail Reform Advisory Council will take the tangible steps to reform our justice system. The Council was formed after the Jail Reform Task Force recommended extensive state policy changes in various areas including traffic violations, arrests, behavioral health diversion, pretrial release and detention. Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the appointment of Judge Prentis Edwards to the Council in her April 21, 2021 press release. Judge Edwards is recognized for his experiences, skills, and leadership. Judge Edwards currently sits as the Presiding Judge of the Criminal Division of the Third Circuit Court. The Third Circuit Court is the largest trial court in Michigan. Judge Edwards has served in the 36th District Court in Detroit and as an assistant prosecuting attorney for the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office. Judge Edwards is active in various bar associations and community and civic organizations. Judge Edwards earned a bachelor's degree from Michigan State University in 2002 and his law degree from Thomas Cooley Law School in 2005. 
The Juvenile Section Specialty Court Judges are Judge Karen Braxton - STAND Program (Juvenile Drug Court) and Judge Edward Joseph - JMHC (Juvenile Mental Health Court).
Specialty Courts are important because they offer a diversion program as an alternative to traditional Juvenile Court. The Specialty Courts involve the family not just the juvenile when identifying, addressing, and treating issues that brought the juvenile into the program. Specialty Courts require accountability from the youth while helping them to overcome mental health issues, drug and alcohol use and/or abuse, and providing solutions for the family unit such has therapy and resources. Specialized treatment plans are put in place and tailored to individual needs. Specialty Courts provide a team approach including jurists, program coordinators, probation officers, therapist, and attorneys all with one goal in mind to provide treatment and provide youth and families with the tools needed to not only complete the program but to eliminate future court involvement.
The specialty courts in the Family Division-Domestic include POWER (Providing Opportunities for Work, Education and Respect) Court, overseen by Chief Referee Stephanie Witucki, and Veterans Court, overseen by Referee Eric Gloudemans. Cases in these specialty courts are referred from all eleven Family-Domestic Judges' dockets.

Specialty courts are important because they encourage problem-solving and are designed to address the root causes of situations by coordinating efforts of the judiciary, court personnel and community resource providers.

The goal of POWER Court and Veterans Court is to help break down the barriers that may be contributing to the payer's inability to fully meet his or her child support obligation: barriers such as unemployment, underemployment, lack of education, a monthly child support obligation that may be in need of review based upon changed circumstances, as well as issues involving housing, transportation, substance abuse, and mental health, among various other issues, with Veterans Court designed to specifically address the unique challenges that veterans may face after serving our country. These programs offer a more therapeutic approach than the traditional outcome of nonpayment of support resulting in sanctions.
Wayne County Friend of the Court and The Children's Center teamed up for a presentation series on changes to the Friend of the Court due to COVID-19. John Miles, Coordinator for the Wayne County Fatherhood Initiative at The Children's Center, hosted both events held on Wednesday, February 17 5:00 - 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, February 27, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. The Zoom events were well attended by parents and community partners. 

Erin Lincoln, Deputy Court Administrator/Friend of the Court, and Jillian Fitzgerald, Assistant Friend of the Court/Legal Director presented updates on Friend of the Court operations as a result of the pandemic, including:
  • Hearings held via Zoom
  • How to make a payment
  • How to contact FOC
  • How to resolve a bench warrant
  • How to modify support
  • How to modify or enforce parenting time
  • How to file a new case, motion, or objection

The feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive. As a result, the presentation series has been extended. The next event will be held on Tuesday, May 11, 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.

On April 6, 2021, the 45th CASA Swearing-In was held via Zoom at Lincoln Hall of Justice. Four candidates who successfully completed the curriculum were sworn in by the Honorable Judge Edward J. Joseph. Deputy Court Administrator Richard Smart, Chief Referee James Catchings and Chief Assistant of Administrative Operations, ToieLynn Smith expressed greetings and words of encouragement to all of the new CASA volunteers.
The Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) are volunteers who make a life-changing difference for children who have experienced abuse or neglect. Wayne County is especially proud of these volunteers, who study the curriculum for 30 hours initially and then additional hours monthly throughout the year. CASA volunteers are then ready to receive assignments from jurists in the Wayne County Third Circuit Court. They have a crucial role in assisting the jurists with developing a fuller picture of each child's life. Their advocacy enables judges to make the most well-informed decision for each child.
Congratulations to John Ashman, Caitlin Drzewiecki, Courtney Morrow, and
Julie Ponce.
The CASA department looks forward to serving and advocating for our children in foster care. We put our CASA children's safety first and always have their best interests in our advocacy.
Although this may be Roland Smith's last swearing-in ceremony as the Director of CASA, his dedication will never be forgotten. Thank you, Mr. Smith, for your effortless support assisting families throughout Wayne County.
To view the CASA ceremony that was held, please use the link. Click here for video link
Passcode: YN63hiGV
CASA Mission statement:
"The Wayne County CASA program will advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in court proceedings by providing trained community volunteers."
The National Diversity Council's (NDC) annual Women in Leadership Symposium was recently held on March 30, 2021 and the theme was Onward & Upward, the Era of the Empowered Women, which was a great opportunity to close Women's History Month.

The symposium, which was held via live video, touched on several topics that were informative, enlightening and definitely empowering. Darlene King, Executive Director, Michigan Diversity Council, opened with some key points explaining the NDC's mission is to promote equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace and community.

The lineup of women speakers for this conference was impressive. All of them were leaders in the workplace, who were empowered, and they all had one thing in common: to genuinely empower other women. What a wonderful concept. These women really were inspiring to listen to. Not just because they were successful women in the workplace, but because they all knew the importance of empowerment and all agreed that this is 'our' era.

Empowerment also means empowering yourself, which isn't as easy as it sounds. With many working from home during the pandemic, empowering one's self is especially important. It is easy to blur these boundaries while simultaneously trying to juggle multiple roles at the same time. According to many of the speakers, it's ok to say no when needed and to allow yourself the grace to prioritize your own needs.

Dr. Carladenise Edwards, who was the keynote speaker and had an impressive resume, shared an uplifting message and shared this thought, "Wonder what life would be like if we had such a high level of harmony by everyone living or working to their full potential." She stressed the importance of making time for yourself and to understand what makes you happy daily and to figure out how to find daily nuggets that brings joy to your life for your own self-care.

This symposium wasn't like most where you watch slide shows, take notes, and once ended go about your day. No, this conference was much more than that. It was interactive throughout and it left you inspired, uplifted, and feeling confident. It showed that no matter where you are in your own life, you can still inspire and empower the women around you (including yourself!). Success is so much sweeter when shared. Remember, empowered women, empower women.
Court Insights from GenZ with Jordan Taylor
What's the Difference Now that School is Remote

This school year has been very different for me and also for everyone else who is in school. It doesn't matter if it is college, high school, or even middle school. Noticeable things I think anyone who is in school can recognize and relate to are things like homework load and study time, face-to-face interaction with other students and teachers, the pacing of learning, and last but not least, free time. 

The homework load and study time have been increased significantly this year considering we don't have the extra time we usually do when we are in the building. Since we only see (virtually attend) certain classes on certain days, it is important that we ask questions and also make sure we study the things we go over in the time periods on those certain days.

For face-to-face interaction, some of the social students surely miss being able to come to school every day to see their friends and chat with them. As for the pace learning, if we were in the building this year, we would be learning at a faster pace because we would have all of our classes every day for four days. But since we are on a shortened time frame, we are learning at a slower pace and we are mainly only learning the essential skills of the lessons that the teachers are teaching us. 

Last but not least, students recognize the difference in free time. This school year, there is more free time so that we are not stressed out about school as much as we usually would be. There is also more time to do homework, take notes, study, and also just relax to give ourselves some time for our brains to be away from school. But even with more free time, it is all about how you manage your time and being responsible with it.
Congratulations to Zenell Brown, Executive Court Administrator, who was presented the Sojourner Truth Award by Co-Chairs - Pat Moncrease and Jeanette Dunmore from the National Association of Negro Business & Professional Women's Club, Inc.  This award is the highest award presented by their organization to a woman exhibiting outstanding community services far beyond the call of duty; and whose life closely parallels that of the immortal Sojourner Truth - a champion for women's and civil rights; conscentious toward raising the standards of life for Blacks, women, and other minorities.
Court Participates in Bringing Joy and Easter Baskets to Kids in our Community

Zenell Brown, Executive Court Administrator; Richard Smart, Deputy Court Administrator of Juvenile Court; and Judges Edward Joseph and Patricia Perez Fresard, joined with Amanda Fresard's Love One Another group of donors and assemblers to bring 532 beautiful Easter Baskets to many children across the Metro Detroit area.

Baskets such as those pictured below were distributed to children through many entities including Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan, Rev. Ellison of Church of the New Covenant-Baptist of Detroit, Gleaners (Mercado Food Hub), La Sed, Stanford House, Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, Detroit Rescue Mission, Capuchin Soup Kitchen, Turning Point, and Stanford House of Dearborn.

We wish much love and happiness to all who participated and to all who received the baskets. The baskets were so much fun to make and to distribute! These baskets brought smiles not only to the children and their families and to those who participated in creating and distributing them, but to our workplace in this time of COVID.

The halls of our courts were for a few days brightened by carts loaded with cheerful spring colors, in baskets filled with bunnies, toys and eggs, as well as candy and books beautifully wrapped in cellophane and blue and pink grass colored ribbon. We saw many smiles light up on the faces of our court workers as these lovely baskets traveled through the halls headed for their new owners and happy children.
The Detroit Bar Association (DBA) Diversity & Inclusion Committee invites you to participate in our 21 in '21 D&I Challenge.

The Challenge will focus on 21 activities or practices designed to deepen our collective understanding of diversity and inclusion. The Committee will host interactive quarterly virtual discussions, where members can share their experiences with the activities.

There is no cost for this event, and DBA membership is not required.
The Diversity and Inclusion Calendar
The Third Circuit Court Diversity and Inclusion Team's Mission: "We appreciate our common connection and respect our diverse and unique human experiences. We move forward as an inclusive organization as we provide accessible and equal justice."

The Court's Diversity & Inclusion Team strives to ensure the values of its diverse bench, staff, and court users are acknowledged and reflected in our delivery of service as well as our work environment.

In that spirit, the team creates and shares a monthly list of various holidays and observations along with some celebration suggestions. We invite our work community and the community at large to contribute.

May 2021
Global Love Day - May 1
Orthodox Easter - May 2
Star Wars Day - May 4
National Foster Care Day - May 4
National Nurses Day - May 6
Mother's Day - May 9
Eid al-Fitr - May 12
Armed Forces Day - May 15
World Day for Cultural Diversity - May 21
Memorial Day - May 31
In Loving Memory:
Your presence we miss, your memory we treasure, loving you always, forgetting you never.
Dawn Lewis served the Court as a Clerk III in the Family Division - Domestic Section.
Rebecca Mendoza, Retiree, served the Court as a Court Services Administrative Assistant.
Catherine Johnson, Retiree, served the Court as an employee of Financial Services.